Vagina speakers? No, your unborn baby doesn't need them

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2016; this product is still on the market and seems to be attracting attention again so we are re-elevating this story as a cautionary tale.

Parents who are eager to let their unborn child hear the latest Taylor Swift single or a Mozart symphony can now invest in a small speaker system that mothers-to-be insert into their vagina to play music for their fetus.
They go WHERE? Yes, the BabyPod is a sound system for your
The BabyPod, created by a company based in Spain, costs $150 and promises to stimulate the vocalization of babies before birth, as well as encourage neural development.

The small, pink device is inserted into the vagina, and connects to an app that allows parents to select from a variety of playlists designed especially for baby.

But do moms really need to purchase speakers for their vaginas to aid in their baby’s development? NBC medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar says she’s doubtful.“I can’t imagine that an obstetrician would be OK with this, number one — and number two, the science behind it sounds a bit loosey-goosey to me,” Dr. Azar told TODAY Parents . Dr. Azar says she is apprehensive about stimulating a baby in such a manner, adding that pediatricians recommend that small children avoid screen time and other over-stimulation for similar reasons.

Sheryl Crow (mom to sons Wyatt (above) and Levi): “Wyatt [my adopted son] is definitely all mine. Little souls find their way to you whether they’re from your womb or someone else’s.”

And, while the makers of BabyPod offer instructions on sanitizing the device, Dr. Azar says introducing such an item into the vagina during pregnancy seems unnecessary.

“The risk of introducing something foreign — you’re not supposed to use tampons while you’re pregnant — not that you would anyway, but doctors limit the amount of manual exams they give pregnant women even,” said Dr. Azar. “We all know the vagina has its own way of keeping clean and everything, but this seems like unnecessary risk.”

Babies can hear and respond to noise during pregnancy; but doctors say the most important sounds they'll hear are simply mom and dad's voices.Shutterstock

For parents hoping that in utero stimulation will make their babies more intelligent, Dr. Azar recommends instead playing music in a room while the mom-to-be is relaxing, or speaking to the fetus, as babies have been proven to recognize and respond to their parents’ voices before birth.

“The best thing for a child is old fashioned interaction with their parents once they’re born — bonding and reading books and playing with things,” said Dr. Azar.

Put on your own oxygen mask first. In other words, take care of yourself or you can't be a fully engaged parent. Parents who deprive themselves of rest, food, and fun for the sake of their kids do no one a favor. "People feel guilty when they work a lot, so they want to give all their free time to their kids," says Fred Stocker, a child psychiatrist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, in Kentucky. "But you risk getting squeezed dry and emotionally exhausted." A spa weekend may not be realistic, but it's OK to take 15 minutes for a bath after you walk in the door. (A tall request for a kid, yes, but a happier Uno player goes a long way.) Running ragged between activities? Ask your child to prioritize, says Taylor. She may be dying for you to chaperone a field trip but ambivalent about your missing a swim meet—the ideal amount of time for a pedicure.

“No mother-to-be out there needs to feel guilty for not putting this in her vagina, thinking that she is going to give her child a disadvantage,” she said.

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